If conducting "business at the speed of thought" has left you feeling as though your "business" is getting away from you, you're not alone. According to a recent survey on quality decision-making by Kepner-Tregoe (KT), Princeton, N.J., today's employees are being asked to make more decisions than ever before, but in less time?at the expense of quality, productivity and customer service.
And now these beleaguered decision-makers are beginning to fall behind. Of the 818 employees included in the survey (339 workers and 479 managers), more than 650 say that their organizations have missed opportunities because of slow decision-making among senior management. Of the managers surveyed, 383 can trace lost chances to their own inability to act quickly.
So why isn't all this "speed of thought" technology facilitating digital-speed decision-making? Because technology, with all of its decision-driving potential, still can't overcome the age-old barriers to quick, effective problem resolution, say KT's survey respondents. More than 40 percent claim that organizational politics, changing priorities, and the need for multiple approvals continue to impede the decision-making process.
For those employees who are keeping up with digitally driven time demands, the integrity of the decision-making process is often compromised. Nearly 50 percent of the respondents claim that critical information isn't shared, while 38 percent say that the right people aren't involved in the process at all. Others report that time constraints prevent managers from considering viable alternatives or paying sufficient attention to risks.
Perhaps the most disturbing finding in KT's report involves the decision-making "memory" of most organizations. More than 90 percent of those surveyed believe that their companies are reinventing the decision-making wheel, rather than capturing and sharing information about past decisions. Of the fewer than one-tenth who claim that their organizations do maintain such a database of information, nearly 80 percent do not know how to access it. So much for knowledge management.
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